WWE announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2021.
“During the third quarter, we returned to live event touring with record average attendance, driving our better-than-expected performance,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Even with only one large-scale international event due to COVID-related circumstances, we will exceed our previous financial guidance given the overall strength in each of our business lines. We think our performance highlights the strength of our brand globally and supports our belief that we are well-positioned to maximize the value of our content and drive long-term shareholder value.”
Kristina Salen, WWE Chief Financial Officer, added “In the quarter, our better-than-expected revenue of $255.8 million and Adjusted OIBDA of $77.9 million reflected robust demand for our live events as we returned to touring and attracted average attendance above 2019 levels. Even with only one large-scale international event this year, we are raising our full-year 2021 Adjusted OIBDA guidance to a range of $305 million to $315 million.”
Highlights from Q3 2021 include:
- Revenue was $255.8 million, an increase of 15% or $34.2 million, primarily driven by higher ticket sales and, to a lesser extent, venue merchandise sales, resulting from the Company’s return to ticketed live events, including SummerSlam;
- Operating income was $64.0 million, an increase of 1% or $0.6 million, benefitting from the growth in revenue and the absence of COVID-associated severance expense as compared to the prior year. This benefit was largely offset by higher television and event-related production expense;
- Adjusted OIBDA was $77.9 million, a decrease of 8% or $6.4 million. Adjusted OIBDA in the prior year quarter excludes COVID-associated severance expense;
- WWE returned to live event touring beginning July 16, 2021, with strong demand for tickets that outpaced expectations. WWE live events in North America attracted the highest quarterly average attendance in more than a decade;
- SummerSlam was held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in front of a record-breaking, sold-out crowd of more than 51,000 fans. As the most watched SummerSlam in the Company’s history, the event also set a record for sponsorship and grew merchandise sales by 155% compared with 2019’s SummerSlam;
- Digital video views were a record 12.8 billion, an increase of 39%, and hours consumed were a record 411 million, an increase of 20%, across digital and social platforms;
- Return of capital to shareholders totaled $31.0 million, including $21.9 million in share repurchases and $9.1 million in dividends paid.
The full press release can be read at corporate.wwe.com.